One Woman's View

Contributing writer

A reader sparked today's column by sending me two clippings from the Wichita Eagle. One aired the views of Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, on a recent abortion bill vetoed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. The other was a letter to the editor from Vivianne Hoskinson of Burrton on the same issue.

The aims of the bill were to prevent coerced abortions (especially with underage girls who had suffered sexual abuse) and to require that women be given the option of viewing an ultrasound of their unborn child and receiving information on perinatal hospice centers. According to Culp, the governor was bought off by large campaign contributions from pro-abortion groups.

I believe the governor was wrong. I personally believe every child has a right to live, but there is another angle to this issue. Most abortion advocates claim they are not "pro-abortion," only "pro-choice." This bill did not attempt to forbid abortions; it simply gave pregnant women access to information which would help them make an informed choice. I have trouble understanding why some people oppose even laws to protect the health of women undergoing abortions and to afford the opportunity for them to be educated about their options. Perhaps it is only because it might cut the profits of what could be called the abortion industry.

Although I agree with some of the points made in Hoskinson's letter, one sentence irked me. She said, "When the most defenseless do not have the right to life, the fact that we have better schools, more health care and an improved economy have no meaning." In other words citizens should consider only one issue. Many of the legislators who passed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act have opposed a bill which would provide health insurance to Kansas children under five years old. Apparently if we allow babies to be born, they can then take care of themselves. Regardless of abortion laws, our society has an obligation to provide adequate health care and a quality education to the children who are already here.

I consider myself truly pro-life. That means several things:

1. I think every child does have a right to be born. About the only exception I would make is protecting the life of the mother, and that is an extremely rare situation.

2. I think every effort must be made to give children a good life after they are born. Some people approve of abortion in the case of incest, as if that solves the problem. What we need to be concerned about is getting a young girl out of the home where she is vulnerable to rape or incest.

3. I am opposed to capital punishment. Only God can give life, and I am content that only He should take life. The state should not be in the killing business.

4. I do not believe in war, although here I waffle a little. I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said, "There never was a good war or a bad peace." However, it is hard to argue that a country does not have the right to defend itself when attacked. Before the 2004 election I had a Kerry-Edwards sign in my yard. A pro-life friend urged me to remove it saying, "I thought you were pro-life."

I answered, "I am pro-life. I think the life of every unborn baby is precious, but I don't think it is any more precious that the lives of young adults being sent into Iraq to be shot at in order to line Halliburton's pockets and inflate George W. Bush's ego."

I make no secret of the fact that I am a liberal Democrat. A long liberal tradition in this country is standing up for people who cannot stand up for themselves — oppressed workers, children, old people, and the poor. If an unborn child does not come in this category, I don't know who does. Therefore I find it hard to understand why so many liberal politicians do not oppose abortion. Many liberal Democrats among my friends out here in the boondocks are pro-life, but I don't know how we can convince our colleagues. Until we do, I'll keep having to choose each election between candidates who care about unborn children and those who care about the people who already are alive. It is not an easy choice.

I voted for Kathleen Sebelius. In many ways I think she is a good governor. But on this issue she is wrong.